Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Lesson in Voice From "Suri"

From Suri's Burn Book:
"Sometimes I think Louis Bullock might be the only person who understands me. If my mother dressed me up as a pirate, got herself a matching hat, and took me to a party where the favors were made out of cardboard, I’d be pretty upset, too."

I have to admit that my insides feel  a little squishy over how much I enjoy Suri's Burn Book. The faux tumblr depicts Suri Cruise's musings on the Hollywood elite, from her own famous parents (who she refers to as Katie and Tom) to other celebuspawn.  While the posts are hilarious, it's completely unfair to hijack a 5-year-old's persona and snark on other kids while you're at it. Sure many of their parents shove them into the limelight for cash, but it's by no fault of their children.

At the same time, you can't help but adore the ultra sophisticated, pretentious voice that the blog uses. Voice can be a tricky thing for some writers (*cough*me*coughcough*). So let's put aside the obvious issues of posing as a celebrity toddler and check out the good stuff. 

One of the neatest things that the real author of this blog does is take a snobby character and make her likeable through humor and hyperbole. She is the queen bee, and has a strict set of social rules, that in turn lightly mock her own elitism. 

The posts take photos and stories you'd typically see on TMZ, and treat them with the diva's Hollywood sensibility. Fake Suri has fashion advice for kids who aren't as camera-ready, is appalled by denim and sneakers (but most of all, by Crocs), and calls Germany's President Angela Merkel one of her personal heroes. She has a Xanax-popping fear of the future royal baby stealing her thunder, and an old fling with Cruz Beckham, who "if we got married, his name would’ve been Cruz Cruise. Don’t even pretend like that’s not how that would go down."

The frustrating thing about voice is how hard it is to define and teach - the common idea is, you know it when you see it. Here are a few posts in which the author nails the traits that define this middle-grade Gossip Girl's voice so well:
What are your favorite blogs that have great voice?


  1. What an excellent post! I circle around these types of questions regularly as I try to tease out answers on voice.

    I've never even heard of Suri's blog, but I love how you've pointed out what the blogger is doing right. One of my favorite voice blogs is The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) - she makes you feel like you are her best friend within seconds of reading her posts.

  2. Great post! I've seen this blog once before when someone linked to it on Twitter or Facebook. It's hilarious (though I agree somewhat inappropiate, but whatever) and the voice is really spot-on.

  3. @bridgette - neat, i'll have to check out pioneer woman. love it when a blogger can pull that off.

    @ghenet - i'm mildly obsessed and may have read all 23 pages...

  4. Wow, I'll have to go check it out. Very interesting to see that they've nailed the voice so well, though I do agree about stealing Suri's identity :(